Senior batters Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara have been dropped from India’s Test squad for the upcoming 2-Test home series versus Sri Lanka. Finally, their prolonged inconsistent rut got to the selectors, resulting in their axing from the national side.
Chief selector Chetan Sharma revealed that after their poor show in South Africa both players had been asked by the selection committee to play in the Ranji Trophy, where Rahane hit a century on Day 1 for Mumbai. However, that didn’t change the mind of the selectors. Chetan Sharma, though, suggested that both are dropped for the Sri Lanka series, and the door is not closed on them for a return.
“The selection committee deliberated a lot on Rahane and Pujara. We told them we will not consider them for two Tests versus Sri Lanka and doors are open for them. We told them to go and play Ranji Trophy – and that is the best part of both of them that such senior cricketers are going and playing Ranji Trophy,” Chetan Sharma told reporters during a virtual press conference on Saturday.
“Just two Test matches, selectors have decided to give chance to other cricketers.”
The numbers of the pair have been really mediocre over the past couple of years: since the start of 2020, Pujara averages 26 in 20 Tests without a century and Rahane averages 24 in 19 Tests with one century to his name.
Their poor form along with the presence of Hanuma Vihari and Shreyas Iyer, two batters who have been brilliant in the chances they have got, forced this move from the selectors to drop the two senior batsmen.
After the Sri Lanka series, India play a single Test match in England – the fifth Test of the halted series that was rescheduled last year.
Also, the selectors decided to look past two more senior players – wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha and experienced pacer Ishant Sharma, both of whom didn’t feature in any eleven in South Africa.
Rohit Sharma has been named the new Test captain with Jasprit Bumrah as his deputy.
India Test squad vs Sri Lanka: Rohit Sharma (C), Priyank Panchal, Mayank Agarwal, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Hanuma Vihari, Shubhman Gill, Rishabh Pant (wk), KS Bharath, R Jadeja, Jayant Yadav, R Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Sourabh Kumar, Mohd. Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Mohd. Shami, Jasprit Bumrah (VC).